I wake up and curse the existence of the gym in my apartment building. Knowing that much needed exercise is only a lift ride away means the guilt will be real if I don’t go. So I pull myself out of bed and throw my gym gear on.
After an hour at the gym, I’ve enjoyed a long hot shower to clear my head for the day to come. Now it’s time to get dressed. Our office dress code is “dress for your day”. In practice, this means that if I have a hearing or a client meeting that day, I wear a suit; otherwise, I have the freedom to wear pretty much whatever I want within reason. While this is wonderful, it also means I spend every morning contemplating the day’s fit, which can be time-consuming.
Time to head to the office. I live in the CBD so if I’m running on time I take a stroll down Collins Street and listen to a podcast. This is a great time to catch up on the news or indulge my other interests. An episode of “In Our Time” never fails to get me going.
8.30 - 8.45 AM
I’m usually in the office by around 8.30 a.m. with coffee no. 1 in hand. Every morning there’s a breakfast spread in the kitchen so I make myself some avocado on vegemite toast and I grab a bowl of fruit to snack on at my desk.
By about 9.00 am I am at my desk. Our graduate programme involves three rotations through different teams. My first rotation is through the General Insurance team. My team isn’t strict on start time, but everyone is generally at their computer by 9.15 am. In a litigation team you always have something ongoing so it’s time to get started.
Today I start by responding to some comments made on a brief I have assembled that will be sent to an expert witness. A trial is due to start in a couple of months, so now is the time when we need to get all of our evidence ready to go. I talk to the supervising Senior Associate who asks me to draft the letter of instruction to our expert. This will form part of the evidence in the trial and determine what our expert looks at and reports on.
The satisfaction of my early-morning coffee has worn off so it’s time for another. I meet up with some other graduates who started with me and we head down the lift. We’re spoilt for choice but our go-to haunt is PPL’s coffee.
I have been called into a quiet room with a Senior Associate. Many of our clients are overseas, particularly in the US, so we have a call planned to catch the client at the end of their day. Today we’re discussing discovery in a large class action. The client has done some preparatory work on the documents and now it’s time for us to do our part and prepare a list and bundle of the documents which will be produced to the court. Following the call, I get started on preparing the client’s affidavit and the list of documents.
Time for lunch. I try to make a habit of stepping away from my desk and enjoying lunch with my colleagues. Today I remembered to bring lunch so I head down to the staff café with a fellow graduate who sits near me. This is a great time to catch up with my friends and recharge for the rest of the day.
Normally, we allow time to grab another coffee before heading back to work.
After lunch I’m called over to my supervisor’s desk. He says we need to issue a strike out application in a new matter and that will require counsel. My job will be putting together the brief for counsel. This means building a bundle of relevant documents and an index of documents that will help the barrister get up-to-date on the matter as quickly as possible.
I set aside the brief for a bit so I can attend to a pro bono matter. I am a co-lead for the office Iris Network, our LGBTI+ network. Part of my role is working on and managing pro bono matters with an LGBTI+ aspect. Today I am reviewing and finalising a handbook that explains how a person can change their name in each of the States and Territories. After settling the handbook, I send an email to the client enclosing our work and suggesting a call in the near future to discuss a further matter they have for us.
One of the best things about working on pro bono matters is the increased autonomy available to you. I work with a supervising solicitor but much of the communication with the client is through me.
Time for a quick dash to the staff café with the grads. This is our usual time every day when we take a break for a tea, biscuit and a chat. These little breaks go a long way when you’re feeling the drag of the afternoon.
I will spend the rest of the day working on the brief to counsel before sending it for settling by the partner. While that’s being settled, I will prepare the bundle of documents to be sent to counsel in the morning.
My work is normally finished by 6.15 / 6.30 p.m. Before I pack up for the day, I organise my to do list for the next day. My approach is to make each task a reminder in my calendar so I know what my days will look like and when things are due.
The work is done but tonight the graduates have organised to have a glass of wine after work. A new wine bar has opened down stairs (dangerous indeed!).
I’ve made it home so it’s time for some dinner and Netflix with my partner, The show of the evening is “The Good Place”, highly recommend.
Some video games before bed. I got a PS5 for my birthday so I will have to exercise some serious restraint if I’m getting to bed before 1.00 a.m.
A failed exercise in self-restraint means the struggle will be real come 6.00 am.